THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “It’s 2023, and even the turn of century seems a long time ago now — but oddly, Purling Hiss’s guitar-band ethos feels ever more timeless, even as time accelerates and passes us in the outside lane.
The Hiss aren’t just a simple part of the tradition going back 50-odd years. Their DNA pulsed in waves of punk and classic radio rock, grunge and slacker — but their signature crushed-guitar harmonics, fused with deep soulfulness, meld into something that cuts us with fresh heartbreak, an eternal recurrence that seems to be happening right now today, as it pours off the turntable and runs down the street.
Drag On Girard, the first Purling Hiss album in six years, cruises confiedntly through these states of mind and places in time — dreams from the past and the future, careening lawlessly as they slide around loose on the road, an ever-present youth in their roll. As before, but with new twists, Mike Polizze and his gang let loose with the chaos and noise implied by their name, applying high-end splatter and slow-rolling low end to eight vehicles, running the gamut from gleaming pop gems to head-cleaning epic jams before they’re done.
The Polizze-on-Polizze prototype for Purling Hiss — roiling, space-eating layers of guitars draped atop the muted thump of freedom rock, all of it squeezing through the spectrum in a mad dash to be heard — was established way back in the Hissteria/Public Service Announcement days of the early teens. Now in a fourth album from the full-band iteration, the genius of Polizze’s music, beyond the obvious — his singing/screaming guitar leads, classic song construction and vivid hope-and-dream feels — is the shifting layers that make up the dynamic personalities of each album, from the major-label alternative rock sheen of Water On Mars to the slip-siding chaos of Weirdon and the shadowy 1980s club depths of High Bias. This time out, the colliding circles of time seem to have inspired both the songs and the band, and the sentiment-drenched mood explodes in a wild tangle of guitars that seem constantly about to overwhelm the room.
One of the unique qualities of Drag On Girard is a specific lead-rhythm arrangement of the guitars, emitting the expected formidable roar while setting a certain type of rhythmic strut for the band. The two guitars style also trips power-pop impulses in the tunes, with sung-along harmony vocals that evoke classic collective magic and burnish the tunes one by one. Once this vibe’s established, Side 2 turns around and stretches out with the molten flow of Purling Hiss at their very most epic; couched within loose improvisatory structures, the title track and Shining Gilded Boulevard” play further with the yin/yang of nostalgia and truth as they trade places looking meditatively back to them old days and all their harshness and beauty.
Can’t seem to go home again? Purling Hiss pull it off on Drag On Girard, finding the invisible places in our shared perspective where it still exists to this very moment.”